by Alexis Henderson
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A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet's word is law, Immanuelle Moore's very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
Dark, captivating and atmospheric, The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson is perfect for historical and dark-fantasy lovers. With its handmaidens vibe, I quickly found myself transported to the town of Bethel and the forbidden Darkwood.
An outcast from birth, Immanuelle Moore does her best to follow the teachings of the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement unfortunately the woods beckon.
Anytime I slip into a story with a Puritan vibe, I cringe even as it fascinates me. Superstition, gifted ones, and rules that oppress combined with the forbidden woods where witches hold power and create mischief quickly pulled me in.
Henderson shared a world that felt familiar but made the town, the woods, the witches and the characters her own. I found myself captivated by Immanuelle’s origins, the twisted leader and his obedient sheep.
Atmospheric and suspenseful, the tension and dark foreboding built from the moment Immanuelle stepped into the Darkwood. I loved the supernatural elements from the symbols to the vivid moments in the woods. It was terrifying and empowering. The author brought the dark to light with descriptive prose that sent shivers tingling down my spine.
An outcast since birth, Immanuelle is painfully aware of her differences, but she’s resilient and fearless. You felt her struggles to follow the protocols even as she questioned the actions of those within her faith.
There is a light romance that provided Immanuelle an ally. The family ruined by the events of her birth suffered both in status and financial comforts. The Prophet and his teaching had a cult-like vibe and reminded me of Hawthorne’s Scarlet Letter, stories of the Puritans, and Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale.
Henderson drew a stark contrast between the woods and the religious aspects of Bethel. She painted vivid imagery and weaved an unforgettable tale of cures, forgiveness and forbidden love.
If you are looking for a witchy, supernatural tale with dark elements to set your hair on end, grab The Year of the Witching and enjoy!Fans of Atwood's Handmaid's Tale should add The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson. It's atmospheric setting and occult vibe will give fans something new to devour. #NewRelease #DarkFantasy #Historical Click To Tweet